There are many comics coming out every month, it’s easy to lose track of promising new releases. That’s why we here at Critical Writ have started "Make a Solicit Check" — a monthly column devoted to the most interesting announcements.
This month: we got a comic overload! So many exciting new titles have been announced for May, we just had to increase the regular size of the column. First, though, we'll pay lip-service to the month's least interesting solicitation.
Secret Empire #1-3 - Nick Spencer, Steve McNiven, Andrea Sorrentino (Marvel)
Nick Spencer sucks and the only good thing coming out of Secret Empire is that the idiotic and offensive "Steve Rogers is secretly a Nazi" plotline will finally go and fucking DIE. Also, this better not be another event series that gets constantly delayed and ends up lasting the entire year like Civil War 2 did, or until we die of old age—whichever comes first.
Now let's talk about good comics.
12. Who's Got the Heart of a Hunter?/Pounding Like Thunder
Youngblood #1 - Chad Bowers, Jim Towe (Image)
And we start off the good comics, surprisingly, with a Youngblood comic. Or maybe not that surprisingly. in the recent several years Rob Liefeld was happily giving his creations into the hands of other, MUCH better writers, which led to exciting series like Joe Keatinge and Sophie Campbell's Glory, Brandon Graham's Prophet and Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay's Supreme: Blue Rose. And since 2017 is the 25th anniversary of Image Comics, it's only fitting the publisher would mark the occasion with a reboot of the comic that started it all. Written by X-Men 92's Chad Bowers and featuring the art of newcomer Jim Towe, whose impressive redesign of the team excited Liefeld a few months back, the series will likely be more fun than the original.
Though we'll all mourn Diehard punching a guy with his crotch.
Youngblood #1 is set to be released on May 3.
11. Phase Two of RessurrXion - No "Ugh" This Time, Because Secret Empire Exists
Secret Warriors #1-2 - Matthew Rosenberg, Javier Garrón (Marvel)
Jean Grey #1 - Dennis Hopeless, Victor Ibanez (Marvel)
Generation X #1-2 - Christina Strain, Amilcar Pinna (Marvel)
Cable #1 - James Robinson, Carlos Pacheco (Marvel)
Black Bolt #1 - Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward (Marvel)
Actually, I've got one more little rant: Jean Grey is one of Marvel's oldest female characters and finally getting her first ever ongoing series. So who do they pick as the writer? Kelly Thompson? Marguerite Bennett? Mariko Tamaki? Nope - Dennis Hopeless. I'll admit his run on Spider-Woman is stellar, but come on. And apparently the plot will focus on the Phoenix Force, because of course it will. Why test new waters (like he did with Spider-Woman) when you can fall on the tired Jean-Phoenix connection.
As for the other series, I actually don't have any big criticisms. I was going to remark on the oddity of Matthew Rosenberg's Secret Warriors having a roster consisting of Daisy Johnson, Kamala, Lunella (and Devil Dinosaur), the never-really-catching-on Inferno and the nihilistic Karnak. But given the opening arc's premise of fighting off Nazi!Cap's attack on Inhumans it actually makes sense for such disparate characters to form a team.
Other than that, we have a promising Generation X about young X-Men under the care of Jubilee, and an interesting-sounding series about the Inhuman king Black Bolt, written by an accomplished writer Saladin Ahmed and drawn by the master of psychedelic art Christian Ward. And, finally, there's Cable. I guess if you like the epitome of 90s gun-toting anti-heroes, you'll enjoy it?
10. Grrl Power
Samaritan #1 - Matt Hawkins, Atilio Roj (Image)
Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks #1 - Jim Mahfood (Image)
In a pleasant coincidence, Image is releasing two new comics about women kicking butt. The first one, Samaritan by Matt Hawkins, is focused on a woman with a vendetta against one of America's biggest military contractors, and she's going to exact it by stealing all their research and making it public. Hawkins's work is generally hit or miss for me, but the premise is enough to warrant a look. The first issue is set to be released on May 24.
But the comic that's going to get the most critical reaction will likely be Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks by writer and artist, Jim Mahfood. Mahfood is primarily know for the cult-classic Tank Girl, and this is his first new creator-owned comic in years. Originally released as Girl Scouts in 1995 (the name change is the result of a cease and desist letter from Girl Scouts of America), the psychedelic adventures of Gwen, Daphne and Rita were released by Oni Press in a 4 issue miniseries in 1998 and later, in Grrl Scouts: Work Sucks, by Image in 2003. And now the girls return with a new series set to be released on May 17.
Eternal Empire #1 - Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughn (Image)
One of the best Image titles released in recent years was Alex + Ada - a touching science-fiction story about artificial intelligence and relationships. Since the series' end in 2015 its creators were mostly silent, with only Sarah Vaughn writing a terrific three issue Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love miniseries for DC. Now they're back, this time with an epic fantasy series about the war against the Eternal Empress and one of her workers' rebellion. While the setup isn't the most original, neither was Alex + Ada's - and the duo made it an unforgettable tale.
Eternal Empire #1 is set to be released on May 3.
8. God Gaves Us Rock'n'Roll
The Last Song #1 (of 4) - Holly Interlandi, Sally Cantirino (Black Mask)
Music can be a saving force in our lives, helping get us through dark days. Such was the case with Nicky Marshall, whose troubled upbringing started by his father's suicide led him to start a rock'n'roll band Ecstasy with his childhood friend Drey. The miniseries from an all-female creative team of newcomers will start with the grassroots clubs of the 80s and chronicle the duo's career.
7. Ave Gillen, Morituri Te Salutant
The Wicked + The Divine: 451 A.D. #1 (one-shot) - Kieron Gillen, André Lima Araújo (Image)
Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's The Wicked + The Divine is one of Images best ongoing series, and now it's getting another special one-shot issue focused on one of that world's earlier Pantheons. Set in the last years of the Roman Empire, as Atilla the Hun ravages Gaul, it will feature another version of Lucifer, unwilling to take the unraveling of the world lying down. Featuring amazing art by Avengers A.I.'s André Lima Araújo, the one-shot will not be collected in the series' volume 5, so if you don't want to wait for an unspecified amount of time for a volume with all of the special issues, you won't want to miss it.
The Wicked + The Divine: 451 A.D. #1 is set to be released on May 17.
That's not the only one-shot written by Gillen and released in May. There's also the James Bond: Service comic, with art by Antonio Fuso and published by Dynamite, featuring 007 against a backdrop of Britain facing Brexit. That concept might make you interested in it to check it out, even if like me you're apathetic towards the character.
6. A Bug's Life
Bug!: The Adventures of Forager #1 (of 6) - Lee Allred, Michael Allred (DC/Young Animal)
Young Animal is probably the best thing DC is currently involved in. All of the series released thus far has been a quality creation, and now a new comic is joining them. This six-issue miniseries, created by the entire family of Allreds, will celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the legendary Jack Kirby's birth by telling a story using one of his lesser known New Gods creations. Forager originally was a member of humanoid bugs living under the surface of New Genesis. This comic's incarnation will take part in an interdimensional pursuit after General Electric; a villain set on finding a reality bending metal. The Allred involvement promises this to be a fun, enjoyable title, and it's a good way to celebrate the late comics legend.
Bug!: The Adventures of Forager #1 will be released on May 10.
5. Awesome (Co)Mix, Volume 2
All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #1-2 - Gerry Dugan, Aaron Kuder (Marvel)
Rocket #1 - Al Ewing, Adam Gorham (Marvel)
I Am Groot #1 - Christopher Hastings, Flaviano (Marvel)
May 2017 is now officially a Guardians of the Galaxy month. Not only is the second movie premiering, not only do we have good ongoing comics about Star-Lord and Gamora, but we're finally getting a new run on the team itself. While Gerry Duggan wouldn't be my first choice, he's doing good work on Deadpool, so there's hope for a fun title. A twice-monthly one at that, as Marvel decided to ape DC a little bit.
But that's only the start of Guardians news. Gwenpool's Christopher Hastings is scripting I Am Groot, which is the third time he's taken a bizarre idea: a whole ongoing focused on Baby Groot. Hopefully, he will make it work like Zachary's favorite new character.
But the true star of this month's news is that Al Ewing is taking over Rocket Raccoon. The book will feature our favorite mammal building an Ocean's Eleven-style team for one last heist. And that team? Technet. Leave it to Ewing to bring back a mostly forgotten team of interdimensional bounty hunters. Plus, Pip the Troll.
By the way, if you're worried about Gamora's absence in May solicitations, don't worry. The series wasn't cancelled (yet), issue #5 was just delayed from April.
4. *insert Stranger Things theme*
Misfit City #1 - Kiwi Smith, Kurt Lustgarten, Naomi Franquiz (Boom!/Boom!Box)
Kiwi Smith is a pretty big deal in the movie industry, having written scripts for films like 10 Things I Hate About You and Legally Blonde. Now she's joining forces with Kurt Lustgarten and artist Naomi Franquiz to bring a new fun-sounding Boom!Box series, joining the imprint's star titles like Lumberjanes and Giant Days. The comic will join the growing numbers of media inspired by 80s entertainment (particularly The Goonies), like last year's Stranger Things show or upcoming video games Knights and Bikes and Crossing Souls. Misfit City will tell the story of an all-female group of friends living in a town famous for being the set for an 80s movie (appropriately enough), who find adventure in the form of Black Mary's treasure map.
3. Who's The Cat That Won't Cop Out/When There's Danger All About?/(Cage!)
Luke Cage #1 - David F. Walker, Nelson Blake (Marvel)
David F. Walker's Power Man and Iron Fist has been one of Marvel's highlights in recent years. The comic is ending, and the band is breaking up again; Iron Fist is moving to his own series written by Ed Brisson in March, while Luke Cage remains in Walker's hands. The new series, starting in May, will see Luke take on a more detective role (hence the Shaft theme above). The opening arc is little bit of a noir cliche; a person travels to a city to take part in a funeral of an important person for them (in this case Dr Burstein, the man who made Luke unbreakable), only to get involved in mysteries/crime surrounding said town. However, Walker has a good enough track record that I'm willing to give it a chance.
2. Ain't No Time for Subtlety
Calexit #1 - Matt Pizzollo, Amancay Nahuelpan (Black Mask)
We're living in terrifying times, and we really need fiction to help us deal with reality and inspire us. That's the goal of the creative team behind the astounding (both in quality and the length of hiatus between each issue) Young Terrorists. The duo will bring the not-really-serious idea of California seceding from the US –based on the the state hard stance against #45's hateful politics– and craft a story imagining a world where that concept is reality. It's not going to be subtle, but given that we live in a world where punching Nazis is inexplicably controversial, we don't really have time for subtlety.
1. Very Likely Better Than Penny Dreadful's Frankenstein Monster
Victor LaValle's Destroyer #1 - Victor LaValle, Dietrich Smith (Boom!)
Victor LaValle is a renowned and award-winning African American novelist. He is the author of Big Machine, and most recently nominated for the Nebula award for his The Ballad of Black Tom novella. So as you can imagine, an announcement of his first comic book is a pretty big deal. Destroyer will tell the tale of the last heir of the infamous Victor Frankenstein; a Black woman Dr. Jo Baker, who resurrects her son Akai, killed by Chicago police; mirroring the disturbing number of real-life tragedies in recent years. In fact, Akai's name is based on one of the victims of those shootings, Akai Gurley. Unfortunately for Dr Baker and her son, that act puts her on a collision course with her ancestor's original creation, who's working towards the destruction of humanity.
TRADE-SPOTTING - MAY 2017 EDITION
(NOTE: many of the below trade solicits are advance solicits and won’t be released until June or later.)
- Betty and Veronica Vol. 1 (Adam Hughes, Jose Villarrubia, Jack Morelli; collects issues #1-3; out on May 10)
- Josie & the Pussycats Vol. 1 (Marguerite Bennett, Cameron DeOrdio, Audrey Mok, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Jack Morelli; collects issues #1-5; out on May 24)
- The Backstagers Vol. 1 (James Tynion IV, Rian Sygh; collects issues #1-4; out in July 2017)
- Giant Days: Not on the Test Edition Vol. 1 (James Allison, Lissa Treiman, Max Sarin; hardcover; collects issues #1-8; out in July 2017)
- Lumberjanes To the Max Edition Vol. 3 (Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Brooke Allen, Carey Pietsch, Carolyn Nowak; hardcover; collects issues #18-24; out in July)
- The Woods Vol. 7 (James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas; collects issues #25-28; out in July 2017)
- Dept. H. Vol. 2: After the Flood (Matt and Sharlene Kindt; collects issues #7-12; out on July 5)
- Ether. Vol. 1: Death of the Last Golden Blaze (Matt Kindt, David Rubin; collects issues #1-5; out on July 19)
- Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye. Vol. 1: Going Underground (Gerard Way, Jon Rivera, Michael Avon Oeming; collects issues #1-6; out on June 28)
- DC Comics Bombshells. Vol. 4: Queens (Marguerite Bennett, Mirka Andolfo, Laura Braga, Marguerite Sauvage, Sandy Jarrell, Pasquale Qualano, Matias Bergara, Richard Ortiz; collects issues #19-24; out on June 21)
- Harley Quinn. Vol. 2: Joker Loves Harley (Amanda Conner, Jimmi Palmiotti, John Timms, Chad Hardin and others; collects issues #8-13; out on June 21)
- Justice League of America. Vol. 1: Road to Rebirth (Steve Orlando, Jody Houser, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Mirka Andolfo, Stephen Byrne, Jamal Campbell, Andy MacDonald; collects /The Atom/ #1, /Vixen/ #1, /The Ray #1/, /Killer Frost/ #1 and /Rebirth/ #1; out on June 7)
- New Super-Man. Vol. 1: Made in China (Gene Luen Yang, Viktor Bogdanovic, Richard Friend; collects issues #1-6; out on June 21)
- Nightwing. Vol. 2: Back to Blüdhaven (Tim Seeley, Marcus To, Marcio Takara, Minkyu Jung; collects issues #9-15; out on June 14)
- Teen Titans. Vol. 1: Damian Knows Best (Benjamin Percy, Khoi Pham, Jonboy Meyers, Diogenes Neves; collects issues #1-5 and /Rebirth/ #1; out on June 14)
- Mayday (Alex de Campi, Blond, Tony Parker; collects entire miniseries; out on May 17)
- Motor Crush Vol. 1 (Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr; collects issues #1-6; out on June 14)
- No Mercy Vol. 3 (Alex de Campi, Carla Speed McNeil, Jenn Manley Lee; collects issues #9-14; out on May 24)
- Revival Deluxe Collection Vol. 4 (Tim Seeley, Mike Norton; hardcover; collects issues #36-47; out on May 31)
- Violent Love. Vol. 1: Stay Dangerous (Frank J. Barbiere, Victor Santos; collects issues #1-5; out on May 24)
- Black Panther: World of Wakanda. Vol. 1: Dawn of the Midnight Angels (Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxanne Gay, Yona Harvey, Rembert Browne, Alitha E. Martinez, Afua Richardson, Joe Bennett; collects issues #1-5; out on June 14)
- Occupy Avengers. Vol. 1: Taking Back Justice (David F. Walker, Carlos Pacheco; collects issues #1-4; out on June 21)
- Star-Lord. Vol. 1: Grounded (Chop Zdarsky, Kris Anka; collects issues #1-6 and Annual; out on June 21)
- Star Wars: Doctor Aphra. Vol. 1: Aphra (Kieron Gillen, Kev Walker; collects issues #1-6; out on June 21)
- Ultimates 2. Vol. 1: Troubleshooters (Al Ewing, Travel Foreman; collects issues #1-6; out on June 21)
Dominik Zine is a nerdy demisexual lad from northeastern Poland and is generally found in a comfy chair with a book in hand.